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Building a home for the arts

by Karel Ancona-Henry

Carson Valley Arts Council was formed in May 2004 to “try to create a home for the arts in Carson Valley,” said Brian Fitzgerald, CVAC president. “Through the concert series, we hope to raise awareness about our community’s need.”

The series closes with a final performance this season with Roy Rogers, slide guitarist, May 1 at CVIC Hall, 1602 Esmeralda Ave., Minden.

The council will be meeting soon, Fitzgerald said, to decide the next course of action they should take to continue raising not just awareness, but the funds needed to restore the old Copeland Lumber building to its next incarnation as a performing and visual arts facility.

Big George Ventures recently donated $400,000 toward the purchase of the building.

“Ray Sydney (Big George owner) has graciously donated to many organizations throughout the community,” Fitzgerald said. “He was behind the Douglas High School football field improvements, for instance, and we were thrilled at his leap of faith to transform the building into a performing and visual arts center with a 400 to 500 seating capacity.”

According to the organization’s Web site, CVAC was incorporated in September 2004, was granted 501(c)(3) status in August 2005, and in June 2007, launched “an on-line arts calendar for events taking place in the Carson Valley to assist local arts groups and individuals with coordinating and publicizing activities.

“In a county with an estimated current population of 50,000 (State of Nevada Demographer) and an active base of 36 arts organizations, the need for a home to host live performances, craft workshops, exhibitions, and other art-related events is both immediate and compelling.”

“We are making the building payment with donations,” Fitzgerald explained. “And this now opens the door to grants for restoration.”

Many of the Carson Valley’s performance and art organizations ultimately wind up going to Carson City or Lake Tahoe to perform, since there’s no space to accommodate them, Fitzgerald said, noting how this impacts the local economy.

“We want to give people a reason to go downtown,” he said. “We’re working with the Visitor’s Authority and Chamber of Commerce to make downtown more desirable and draw people there … We hope to be the organization people look to, to find out what’s going on.”

CVAC will be opening a store front soon at 1572 Highway 395 in Minden, next to Nevada Joe’s Coffee Kiosk.

For more information, or to find out about

donating time or money, visit CVAC on the Web at

http://www.cvartscouncil.com.